Architect plans to treat Streetsboro school construction as one project, not two

by mike lesko | Reporter Published:

Streetsboro -- There will be no need to divide the district's school construction project into two parts, since one architect will handle the entire job.

Although Streetsboro school officials were prepared to consider hiring two architectural firms, Michael DiMaio of FMD Architects in Fairlawn said his firm will handle the work on both the high school/stadium on Route 14 and the Route 303 school campus.

"It was a concern that perhaps we should divide these projects up," DiMaio told the Streetsboro Board of Education April 10. "We [previously] presented why we believe one team is best."

DiMaio said the School Board wants one firm that is responsible, and he believes that will work best.

"One of the key things we believe we heard [from the district] was, 'We want one point of responsibility and one person to communicate with,'" he said. "That's why we think it's best [to have one group], not only for the architect, but also for the construction manager."

DiMaio said FMD is "a 115-person engineering firm."

"There is a very large workforce," he said. "We are deeply involved in school projects and know this market very well."

DiMaio noted his firm has worked for Streetsboro schools for 11 years.

"We want you to continue to trust us," he said.

A new high school and stadium are planned on Route 14 across from Deer Meadow Boulevard. At the Route 303 school campus, the existing high school will be heavily renovated to accommodate grades six through eight, and an addition will be built at Campus Elementary School, following the approval of a bond issue in November 2013. The current middle school and Wait Primary School will eventually be closed. Henry Defer Intermediate School would not be renovated, but would only serve fourth- and fifth-graders, according to the district's plan.

DiMaio asked the School Board members what they wanted from the project.

"This is an opportunity for us to place a stamp on this community in terms of identity," School Board Vice President Brian Violi said.

School Board member Denise Baba said, "Something that is a pleasant place to be every day and the kids want to be there."

School Board President Andrew Lesak said an architectural firm that follows through on its promises, "that we get 100 percent support from our architects all the way through, and I'm sure we will. Also, a 21st century learning facility. It cannot be a school like it's always been because children do not learn like they did 10 or 20 years ago."

School Board member Kevin Grimm said, "I'd like to have all of our buildings be just as safe if not safer than they are now, and something that our community can be proud of without building a Taj Mahal. We're not looking for that."

School Board member John Kelly said creating facilities the community can be proud of.

"I want something that will identify Streetsboro and represent the kind of community we are, and will make our students, staff, parents and Board of Education members want to walk into that facility or drive by it and say, 'Wow, this is exactly what we wanted,'" Kelly said.

Superintendent Michael Daulbaugh said the first step in realizing that vision is identifying and hiring an architectural firm that can help make it happen, adding he's "excited about FMD."

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

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